Just a selection of the feedback we have had or comments fond around the web…
Jim & Helen
The email with the comments simply stated how surprised we continue to be at the slow uptake of modern type anchors as first developed by SPADE. These anchors are so much superior to the old-fashioned plow types, as shown by many reliable tests carried on in an unbiased manner by independent entities, that everyone should have them. It would make anchoring in a crowded anchorage safer for everyone and it is the best insurance one can buy ! I have done surveys (in marinas around the world) by tabulating anchors used and the percentage of ’good’ anchors (i.e modern anchors like the Spade) is still very low. Most people prefer to stick with what they have (mainly plow types) never mind the possible consequences. It is quite comical, or should I say disturbing, to see multi-hundred thousand dollar yachts with inadequate anchors ! When asked about their anchors most say, regardless of what they use, how they love them, commenting, we hardly ever drag--------. (Dragging in some situations may of course be done only once !) In our opinion even long time voyagers cannot possibly make an intelligent choice of anchors if they base it purely on their experience. After all most conservative cruisers choose anchorages that will not challenge their anchor’s holding capabilities. We all like sand or good mud, twenty or so feet deep with no exposure to waves, swell or wind fetch (- : . Only properly run tests can cover all eventualities, conditions etc using a range of the available anchors. In these tests Spade anchors are always found near or at the top in holding power, resetting etc . We have been cruising for almost eighteen years and are now half way around the world from our starting point in the Great Lakes in Canada. The Spade anchor has been our primary anchor for the last ten years or so taking over that job from a Bruce. (We based that decision on the results of tests carried on by a collusion of sailing magazines and Practical Sailor.) Primary has meant near 100% of the time and we seldom spend time in marinas. We also carry (or carried) an FX55 Fortress, a Bruce, a Luke Fisherman and a smaller Fortress. When we were in New Zealand we sold our original Bruce anchor after studying more tests. These tests showed that the Bruce anchor is more susceptible to not resetting when the wind or current switches. A disaster waiting to happen ! In spite of our good experience with the anchor, the cost involved and some emotional attachment having transported it by ferry and plane from Europe to Canada while we were building GAIA and having used it as our primary anchor for the first eight years of our circumnavigation we decided based on these tests to replace it, which we eventually did, with another Spade. Reliable holding during a change of current or wind direction is surely one of the more important characteristics of a good anchor ? We are presently near the Surin islands in Thailand and have a very poor connection to the Internet. This is not likely to improve in the near term. So, if you want to put the pics and these comments on your website please go ahead. Cheers and continued success with an anchor that digs in like a SPADE instead of one that plows a furrow (- : Jim and Helen
Comments from Spade Anchor owners at the last boatshows on U.S.
Hello I have an A100 Aluminium that I used during hurricane Ivan in Pensacola Fl. …. That night I set my boat on the hook using a Spade A100 and 150 ft of 5.16 chain,… We had 27 other boats in the safest Moorage in Pensacola…. that night the winds reached 155mph then the eye passed over us and it was dead calm,… and the the other side of the storm blew at 140mph at this time all the boats turned 180 degrees and this is when the…. hit the fan,…. in the morning the only boats left in the bayou,…. was mine and one other boat using the same Spade Anchor,….25 boats were not there,…. I know that I will always use these anchors on my boats,…. I have a40 ft sea - ray… and a 28 Wellcraft,…. My insurance company loves you, thanks !
BARBARA POTTER « Ocean Phantasy » in Alcudia Marine, Northern Mallorca
I promised to send you any interesting incidents we encountered when using our new Spade 100 anchor on our Moody 46 in the Mediterranean.
On the night of Wednesday May 21st., the night of the Algerian earthquake, we were securely anchored in the cove of Porto Petro on the south east coast of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands in hard sand and sea grass - our most difficult anchoring type of bottom.
At about 21.30 or so the eleven boats in our anchorage started wild gyrations as a bore of water came racing out of the nearby marina. Yachts started tearing past us as they dragged their anchors and then came racing back again as the surge of water came back into the cove (or Cala as they are named in the Balearics) from out at sea.
We found out over the VHF that this frightening happening was caused by the severe earthquake 150 miles away in Algeria. For two hours were were swirled violently in all directions, but, our new Spade 100 held firm and did not drag one iota. We know this as we were monitoring our anchoring position electronically as other yachts dragged all over the place. We could only start the engine and steer around the anchor in order to avoid the other boats most of which were totally out of control.
We came through this frightening night unscathed thanks to our trusty Spade which stood up to its severest test yet, unmoved. Other yachts were not so lucky as we understand since that there was quite a lot of damage in the coves and marinas in the Balearic Islands that night. Hope this information is of interest to you. As far as we could tell we were the only boat using a Spade anchor that night.
My husband, Martin, spoke to you at the Boat Show this year. Last winter we left our boat, Sapphire (47.5) in Rome. We bought a spade anchor from you at the Boat Show and carried it out there ( before the sports goods restrictions by Ryan Air). We spent 6 months cruising down the Italian coast to the windy Aeolian Islands, Sciliy, Southern Italy, Corfu, the Ionian Islands, Athens, Evia Channel, Sporades, Lesvos, Samos, Dodecanese and onto Turkey.
We had always anchored "according to the book", but sometimes, previously, it took a few goes to get it to take. However,our new Spade anchor was a dream to use and we had an easy mind when it came to anchoring.
One day, in Turkey, we had left Sapphire anchored in the bay amongst 6 or 7 other yachts. We went ashore to use the internet and were fairly oblivious to the squall which had pipped up in the bay. Several boats received extensive damage during this weather. When we returned to our rubber dinghy, it was swamped by the large waves which had broken on the previously quiet shore. All the other boats at anchor had made a run for it. The bottom was a shingle sort of sand. In fact, the gullets had also left the quayside as the winds were causing them damage as they bashed against the concrete quay.
We were only concerned about the dinghy, but the engine still started and, once the winds had died down, we motored back to Sapphire.
We changed our anchorage that evening and returned to a mooring bouy the next morning. By coffee time another yachtsman rowed over. They had been anchored near us at the start of the storm, but their anchor wouldn’t hold as their yacht shifted position. They were amazed that Sapphire had not been washed up and wrecked. We invited the captain on board for a coffee. He came on board and, instead of sitting down in the cockpit, strode meaningfully to the bow of our yacht. He pointed at our spade anchor and announced, "I want one of those !!".
I didn’t think that there would be an anchor in which I could be so confident. Should you want an agent in Turkey I would be happy to reccommend the Spade anchor to anyone.
http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/5471/anchorexp.htm Jere Lull
Damn, they’re expensive ! but when you see one, you can see why : They’re works of art with a lot of tooling. The Spade dug right in and held against anything the prop could throw at it, including simulating 180 degree windshifts. Yes, the Spade’s become our primary anchor….
I have a 66 lb spade in aluminum and have never dragged. It is super 45 foot trintella, dsp 35,000 lbs. It brings up half the harbor when I bring it up, so I see why it holds.
I’ve been using a 30kg=66lb galvanized steel Spade anchor for two years now. It’s fabulous. Used throughout the Bahamas as a single anchor in places many said two. It resets within a few feet at most. Truly great anchor. By far the best anchor so far as my very extensive research / talking with people in the field, etc. can reveal.
http://www.morganscloud.com/stuff/deck.htm - John Harries and Phyllis Nickel.
We think this anchor is the next best thing to sliced bread ! It sets immediately and holds in almost any bottom, including thick kelp. We like the SPADE so much, we now have a 120lb as our bower anchor and a 66lb as our secondary anchor.
http://www.morganscloud.com/norway_guide/cruisinnorw.htm - John Harries We also had a great deal of difficulty anchoring when we first arrived in Norway—the *** we had as primary anchor just could not set in kelp, hard clay or hard sand. When we switched to the SPADE as primary anchor, however, anchoring became a joy again.
http://www.ybw.com/forums/showflat.php ?Number=728731&page=0 - rich_F For what it’s worth, we’ve anchored regularly on a Spade anchor with 50m chain, and never dragged, or even had to re-set when anchoring.
…again used our Spade anchor. It was worth every penny (thanks everyone). It sets fast, digs in quick and holds strong. We have yet to drag on it. I have started diving on the anchor to check it set,
schoonerdog We cruised with a spade anchor on our PDQ36 cat for more than a year. We had the aluminum one too. here’s what we thought. The spade is a GREAT anchor ! It held like a rock in ALL conditions and all bottoms. The aluminum was good because we could easily raise it even when it was really buried and we could set it by hand when we dove on it if necessaryThey are worth the investment. It’s amazing to watch them set in clear water, you see why they work so well !
Location : Ft. Lauderdale Cruised on a friends boat and anchored with a Spade (Alu) .I drove the boat and set the anchor in a very familiar spot.(Half sand, half mud)The spade set right away, and I gradually went full power in reverse and held the power at full for a little, just to "check" the Spade out. I was impressed, it did not budge.
This is Chuck Hawley from West Marine. I’ve been testing anchors for over a decade in the same location off of Santa Cruz Harbor. The smallest alloy Spade is able to withstand almost full power from a 170HP Yanmar and a 16" propeller on Showtime, our Fortier 26 test boat. It has only failed to hold over 1,000 lb once, and in that case it held 800 lb. Our veering test was to set it at 1,000 lb, then slack the line and to run the boat at 6 knots perpendicular to the previous direction of pull. The anchor did not release, and slowed Showtime so violently that most testers were knocked off their feet. This is a superior anchor design, and it’s what Randy Repass, West Marine’s Chairman, selected for his new cat-ketch
James Hancock SV Solstice
I replaced a CQR with a Spade three years ago and am 100 per cent satisfied with the Spade. It holds exceptionally well, much better than the ***. Also, I have watched others drag whilst we remained firmly in place. The Spade has always remained firmly set in all conditions although the highest wind speed I have experienced has only been gusting 40 knots.
My wife and I have carried a 22kg Spade Anchor aboard our yacht for more than four years and 11,000 miles of international cruising, and we consider it to be the ULTIMATE anchor ! It launches more easily, sets faster, holds better, breaks out more quickly and stows more conveniently than any other anchor we own
jvp@ Alain, I would just like to thank you for inventing such a great anchor.I have a 35 foot racing/cruising catamaran, a Tek 35, and a few years back, when equipping the new vessel, I ordered two 15 pound spade aluminum anchors, to keep the weight on the boat to a minimum. I put them on 20 feet of chain, and then 5/8" line. I always dig them in using the boats backwards momentum, as I cannot generate any appreciable pull using my motor. They always catch and hold, and this is a good thing, as I am singlehanding with my 5 and 8 year old sons for my only crew. As I often like to anchor in close quarters, either with other boats or rocks nearby, a missed set with an anchor would lead at best to a serious scramble to keep out of troubleand at worst to damamge ! Their holding power has also been useful when a 55 foot powerboat drifted down on us, or when we sat out Hurricane Isabel I write this sitting out 25 knot winds (for a week !) in the Bahamas, the second time this winter we have had such extended times of strong wind. We have gone to help other boats who have dragged, but are secure in knowing we are staying put.
I was impressed with the small galvanised SPADE, in particular the "spade" shape which is designed to penetrate and lock into the soil, compared with the "plow" shape of the *** and ***** anchors which are designed to move through the ground. I have nothing but praise for this 20 kg Spade anchor. It has almost invariably penetrated immediately (I motor back very slowly at first to give the point to go down into increasingly harder seabed) and with one exception over the past 3 years it has held our full reverse power of 140 hp through a 600 mm 3 bladed Gori prop. The single exception was in a marina in New Caledonia where I knew the bottom was of very soft mud, but there was still ample holding for engine revs equivalent to around 40 knots of wind.
Obviously one can hold almost any craft in almost any conditions. In our case we have been able to go from a 40 kg ***** to a 20 kg Spade, with a substantially better performance, and a weight saving of 20 kg. Paul Marcuzzo
I wanted to drop you a quick note of thanks. On Friday the 13th of August our little piece of paradise here in Punta Gorda Florida had a visitor from the south. Hurricane Charley came to town as a Cat 4 with sustained winds of over 145 mph and gusts to 200 ! I had prepared our boat ( Lagoon 410 cruising catamaran) by putting out our Model 100 Spade anchor forward, one more line off the bow to a dock across the canal, one off starboard side to a neighboring dock, a 35# *** aft and 4 lines to my dock standing off about 30 feet. Just before the eye got to us, to my amazement my 4 pilings we gone ! ! ! My boat was swinging over and nudging a boat across the canal. When I could see through the rain and wind the other bow line was gone (later to be found cut by debris) The only thing that kept our boat from being a complete loss was your great anchor ! She drug about a hundred feet through the ooze on the bottom until she hit the solid beneath. To give you an idea of how strong the wind was, about 300 feet in front of us a Manta 40 cruising cat was lifted and did a 360 degree roll over the bow and landed on a 26 foot power boat on a lift. They both later sank when blown off by cradle with the wind shift. Oh yes the *** on the back end dragged and let my boat get damaged on the port side with the wind shift. I have about $3500 dollars of fiberglass work, but all else said we were very fortunate, thanks to your great product ! And yes I will be replacing that *** with another Spade in the near future.
Thank you for designing such a great product ! ! !
Lagoon 410 #78Punta Gorda, FLto dock -N 26° 53.471’W 082° 03.515’to Corona Locker -N 26° 53.472’W 082° 03.516’
Our Spade holds us securely in Caleta Beaulieu, in 20m of water at 54.47S 069.37W. We sleep very well with it and it has served us all the way through the Chilean Canales. In the next month it will have the chance to taste the waters of Cape Horn ! A friend of mine, Peter Skillen, also has an Amel , Pure Magic, which he took to Antarctica last month and is now en route to S Georgia, with his Spade on my recommendation. Very pleased , not least with its performance on the rocky bottoms of Antarctica.
Ian and Judy Jenkins, Pen Azen,
Last May we had 14 days of force 8/9 winds and 8 of these were spent swinging at anchor. The SPADE never faltered and we felt very confident in it in such conditions. Theresa & Mike
Craig Johnston We have a new Outbound 44 which we cruised for three months last summer around Vancouver Is., BC. We have a Spade 140 (66lb), a **** 45. We used the **** several times and it worked well-quick set and hold. But once we put the Spade on the roller we never wanted to change. In about 80 sets it failed to set only 1 or 2 times on the first try, and held fine in up to 30 kn of wind. Most of the ground was mud. Not only does the Spade set quickly, it holds like a bear — on several occasions we had to winch the chain (5/16" HT) vertical and let the boat ride to the chop for a few minutes to break it out.
I wrote to you about a year ago to tell you how happy I was with me Spade. I’ve travelled 14,000 miles since then, stopped in many many anchorages in all kinds of conditions, and love the product even more.
Langkawi : 2nd January 2005 We were away from our base at Telaga Harbour, Langkawi, Malaysia, cruising in Thailand. Sunday morning we spent on the beach snorkeling and were just returning to our boat in the dinghy under oars when we became aware of a very large breaking wave moving along the rocky shore towards us. The current surged violently preventing us getting back on board. By rowing vigorously We managed to keep on the back of the wave. Our catamaran stayed put although the current must have exceeded 15 knots and the depth have increased to about 40 feet. A lot of credit must go to the designer of our anchor — a design known as the ’Spade’ (20kg) It held in extreme conditions on what became a very short scope. Dennis & Dorothy Noble from Dorset, England
We also have a Spade anchor and have been cruising for two years now. Anchor has never let us down. Held perfectly in 60kts for three hours one night.
Hurricane Delta over the Canary Islands (2005)
Spade A-100 anchor saved my Catamaran from disaster in hurricane Delta
Monday morning 28 Novenber on anchor with my catamaran “ We Two Are One” behind the breakwater of Arrecife Lanzarotte.
The navtex gave a hurricane warning for Madeira and Canarische islands. Because the anchor place was open to the southwest, I decided to go to the harbor Naos on the another side of Arrecife to find some shelter for the oncoming hurricane.
But I was not the only one all the yachts who were on anchor behind the breakwater left for Naos for shelter, by the time I arrived there, the inner harbor was full of boats, and no safe place to anchor for me and my cat. The two jetties from the Marina were totally full and quite a few boats were on anchor inside the harbor , and the danger that anchors with their short anchor scoop will break out if it really started to blow, did not appeal to me at all.
So I choose a place behind the breakwater from the outer entrance from the harbor, with plenty of room in all wind directions.
23.00 hours the wind speed became well over 40 knots, (beaufort 9) but I was laying on 2 anchors a Spade A-100 and a Fortress 27 and was laying ok.
Not far from me was a heavy German multi chine steel yacht and his anchor started to drag and he motored up and down and anchored a couple of times, but kept on breaking loose and when he finally did anchored again his boat kept on swinging to and fro on his anchor. Of course that did not last long. His anchor started to drag again and came closer and closer to my cat and to my anchor lines who were very tight but kept holding.
So I did shine my torch on him to warn him off.
24.00 hours wind speed now well over 50 knots ( beaufort 10) my anchors were still holding ok and to be sure I did put my third anchor out a fortress 37, the wind was screaming and the waves outside the harbor were about 2 meters high.
The German couple with their steel boat and still motoring up and down made me understand that I had to go away, now that was impossible with this wind of over 50 knots and on 3 anchors.
It was impossible to look into the wind with all this black vulcan sand blowing into my face. Also the glass kept falling down and the wind kept on increasing all the time. Later I heard that the wind speed was well 60 knots (beaufort 11)
I had started my two outboard engines to lessen the pull on my anchor lines, and all of a sudden I noticed that we were drifting backwards quite rapidly so it looked that the anchors were loose, and we were going at quite a speed backwards and I thought did is the end of my catamaran, then to my relief just quite close to a big red steel buoy and near the entrance of the harbor one of the anchors gripped again and we stopped going backwards, but we were now with the noses into the high waves near the harbor entrance. The 2 anchor lines from the fortress anchors were loose so we were only laying on the Spade, so I did put out a very heave old fisherman anchor hoping to get some strain off the Spade .
The Germans i think were happy to get rid of me.
At 0.200 with a laud bang we were loose again and hit the big red steel buoy broadside with my starboard hull and were more or les surfing towards the concrete harbor wall from the container wharf, the waves were about 3 meters or so high and I realized that this was the end of “We Two Are One” we will smash to pieces any moment now and my wooden Catamaran would not have any change what ever to survive that at all.
“We Two Are One” did not give in as yet, somehow the anchors dug themselves in again and made us swing around with the noses into the wind and waves again, at about 2 or 3 meters from the concrete wall.
The wind was screaming thru the rigging and then off all things the jib started to unroll itself and was flapping like mad, I fought with the jib and managed to roll it up again and managed to put the spinnaker halyard round it.
Then I noticed that my portside outboard engine with the mounting bracket system was torn away and was hanging under water on its throttle cable so I did managed to put a rope round the engine and with a sheet winch pulled it against the boat.
I then realized that my position was very dangerous if the chain breaks of the anchors
breaks out again then we will hit the wall within seconds and that would be the end of it.
Put my passport and ships papers and some personal gear into a waterproof bag , ready to throw ashore, because this could not go on forever, with this wind and waves nothing can stand this for long.
I lit some flares but that was no success at all the first one burnt my hand the second one fel into the cockpit and kept on burning there and the third one did do nothing at all. Got out my flare pistol shot some flares of, and realized that is also hopeless in this weather. Finally called a mayday on channel 16 hoping to reach the Naos harbor board, it took a while but they answered, and told me that a lifeboat will be on its way.
The anchor line of the fisherman anchor was hanging down so the line had broken so we were again hanging only on the Spade and chain but for how long !!!!!!
After what I thought a long time the lifeboat came alongside off me downwind and the crew yelled to me to jump, no I yelled tow us to the harbor, but the Spanish lifeboat crew told no go, you will have to jump, so I did and 3 pairs of strong hands pulled me unto the lifeboat.
and here I was sitting on the cockpit floor of this lifeboat going at full speed towards the safety of Naos harbor, shocked ,dazzled, troubled and very worried the starboard engine was still running and all the lights were still on, when I jumped ???.
When the lifeboat moored into her box and it seems to me that the wind was degreasing in force, I did asked the Captain to take me back to my boat, he said no, we will go at first light in the morning we will go and have a look, your life is more important than the boat.(…the next morning…)
With Manuel’s little fishing boat and 3 man we went towards my boat, and went alongside we saw that the engine had stopped because of lots of plastic bags where stag on the propeller, batteries completely flat,
The portside engine who was still hanging under water, and with the 4 off us hoisted the engine on board, and we managed to started with the pull cord the starboard engine.
We then made the catamaran’s portside fast on Emanuel little fishing boat and went anchor up, the big fisherman anchor had not been holding anything at all, the Spade anchor was really dug in and took quite some effort with the 4 of us to break it out, the Spade blade had got stuck behind some rocks and with the 8 mm extra strong galvanised chain kept the cat from disaster. The shank of the Aluminum Spade was totally twisted but it did hang on. And thanks to my 9 KG aluminum Spade anchor who realy saved my Catamaran. “We Two Are One” from being shipwrecked.
Two day’s later with Emanuel and his little fishing boat and a Englisch sailorfriend we went looking for the anchors, water was clear so we snorkeled it took us about 15 minutes to find the anchors the line of the small Fortress had been worn through, big Fortress the pin came out of the shackle, which we found also. I did not put safety strap on the shackle at the time of the storm, which I normally do.
Later on we heard that a lot off damage had occurred all over the Canary Islands, especially on Tenerife where windspeeds off wel over 120 knots was measured. There occurred the most damage now 4 day’s later there is still no electric power as yet.
Now everybody is working hard to repair the damage and trying to get rid off this black vulcan dust. So gradually I will get my Catamaran shipshape again, and hope to, in a week or two to go sailing again and try to forget this terrible experience. (Editors Note : We no longer recommend an aluminium anchor as a main anchor because it can bend in extreme conditions or with all chain rode - but this still shows the holding ability of the SPADE). Michael Barrett OBE
Lots of dramatic stories in customer reports but the really great thing about the Spade is its complete reliability in regular use in all sorts of conditions. Until we bought a Spade, our cruising on the West Coast of Scotland was constantly marred by dragging over kelp, rock and even sand in even moderate conditions, and sleepless nights as the wind rose or the tide turned. For the last three years we have never had to reset and have never dragged. It bites quickly and stays set. The Spade is a brilliant design and gives total confidence.